What’s the Buzz About Drafts?

Drafts [iPhone - $2.99, iPad - $3.99] is an iOS app that could be described as the Swiss Army knife of text editors. It’s not that it has any magical text-editing skills, but rather what it can do with that text once you’ve typed it. Do you ever want to send the same status update to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ without copy/pasting? Drafts can do that.

You can also use Drafts to document your research efforts – quickly type, create and send a note to a specific Evernote notebook and email it to a cousin with two taps or even add an entry to an existing Evernote research log with one tap. There are a number of actions already included with Drafts, but creating your own customized actions is really quite simple.

Creating a customized Evernote action in Drafts.

Creating a customized Evernote action in Drafts.

In this example, I’m creating a customized action for use with Evernote. After tapping the Gear icon in the Share sidebar, I chose the Evernote Actions from the Custom Actions section of the Settings screen. This Evernote Action form appears. From here I gave my action a name, entered the Title of the Note and Notebook to be used in this action and chose the Append button. In the Template section I’ve added two text tags (not to be confused with the Evernote tags entered higher up). These text tags identify what information from Drafts I want appended to my existing Evernote note. In this example, I’m sending a date stamp – [[date]] – and the entire text of the Drafts item I’m sending – [[draft]]. You can see the other text tag options by tapping the Tag Help item. Once everything is the way I want it, I tap the Save button and I’m done.

Performing an action in Drafts.

Performing an action in Drafts.

Here you see a typed note in Drafts. After tapping the Share icon at the top of the editing screen, the Actions sidebar appears on the right. I’ll tap the destination I want (or destinations – you can send it to more than one place) and Drafts takes care of the rest.

Drafts item added to an existing Evernote note.

Drafts item added to an existing Evernote note.

Here’s what the result of that action looks like in my Henry Log note on Evernote.

I find Drafts quite useful in situations where I’m sending boilerplate text on a regular basis – like inquiry responses to email requests. With that text saved in Drafts, it’s easy to re-purpose it in any number of ways. I also use it to send updates to multiple social networks when each network’s update will be just a bit different. It’s a lot easier to send an update to Twitter, change a word or two then tap the Facebook action, change a few more words then tap email from the Drafts app than copy/paste/edit across multiple apps.

Especially when trying to fat-finger stuff on the iPhone, Drafts will quickly become your new best friend. Oh, and it supports TextExpander too, so all you have to fat-finger is a quick abbreviation or two. Yeah . . . I’m liking that a lot.

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